ILLINOIS: Millennium for Straphangers

No city in the U.S. has a more rattletrap public transportation system than Chicago. Its streetcars, owned by four different companies (all bankrupt) and operated by a fifth, are mostly high-riding "antediluvian arks." Wooden coaches of the McKinley era still clatter around the Loop's rickety elevated lines (also operated by a bankrupt company). On streetcars and El trains alike, lurching is continual, overcrowding chronic and wrecks frequent.

For years, hapless straphangers have protested in vain. Chicago's traction troubles are rooted in corrupt politics and civic inertia. But last week Chicagoans were no...

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